Sushido time

Review of SUSHIDO on XBLIG: Try
Not quite the dash game I was looking for.

This game is mostly beautiful. The stylized sushi and Customer Characters are wonderful. The menu backgrounds are well set up and work well with the music which is unobtrusive and pleasant for long stretches of time. The background in the games themselves are minimalistic to showcase the sushi and the Player Hand is ugly… likely to show how much more beautiful the sushi is.

It requires a working knowledge of Japanese terminology for the ingredients. All the names of the sushi are just the romanji translations of the Japanese spellings. It includes a ton of “Engurish” in the dialogue presented in the menus (button vs botton and other “sounds like” translations) and by the Customer Characters. There are 50 different platters that can potentially appear and each has different appearance requirements.

Nigirizushi (握り寿司, lit. hand-formed sushi) is the largest category and is a single piece of meat or tamagoyaki, a sweet omelet, on top of a small oblong mound of rice. There are 33 different types in the game. Makizushi (巻寿司, lit. rolled sushi) are the four rolls of nori (the seaweed) wrapped around rice and an ingredient. Gunkanmaki (軍艦巻, lit. warship roll) is like a little boat of nori that contains soft ingredients like fish roe. That has seven types. Inarizushi (稲荷寿司, stuffed sushi) is that one yellow pillow thing. There are four different desserts you can unlock. The rose-like item is gari or a sweet pickled ginger used to cleanse the palette.

I describe the types of sushi just so you know the basic shapes of them if you’ve never been to a sushi bar.

After all that explanation, the main game is only partially like a “diner dash” and so long as you know “fish”, “expensive fish”, “shrimp”, “egg”, “shellfish”, “dessert”, and “ginger” you’ll be fine. You’re filling the order (kind of) of a single Customer Character per level. There are five levels of increasing difficulty where you’re required to get 100% satisfaction, think “full” here, and one other requirement. This started with “feed me only things that will make my Satisfaction Level (happiness) increase”, moved on to “chain together 40 plates of the same color (sararen)”, and I stopped at “put together an ultimate combo platter chain (sukiren)”.

Putting together long chains of sararen helps keep the Satisfaction Level of the Customer Characters up. The game literally means the color of the plate the sushi is served on. The gari is used as a color-swap plate like in Uno and when used right can help you get higher scores and sararen. Each Customer Character has likes and dislikes of sushi that will affect how much an item will score. Allowing platters of sushi you don’t wish to serve move past causes them to “stack up” according to the between levels description but there’s no indicator on what’s coming next. I was almost never strapped for time, although you gain a minute for every Satisfaction Level gained.

I liked the main game but it got more irksome than challenging as I moved on. Add to that the fact that if you go back to the main menu or exit out of the game you’re playing then you have to start back at the first level again. After several times of this I said no thank you and put the controller down.

The mini-game included is where you’ve a minimum of 5 rounds to match a random piece of sushi that will pop up before the other people you’re playing against do. The one who wins the most rounds is that game’s winner. Simple.

I’m giving this game a Try. I wanted more out of it when I first started. I thought it was going to be a straight “diner dash” clone and have me making sushi at a super fast pace. To just be filling orders, after the instructions in the Customer Character dialogue and the How to Play menu failed to communicate what was going on, was disappointing to me. It’s well worth 80MSP but I wish it was closer to what I was wanting when I first saw it.

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